Sheffield Labour ward chairman refutes claims 'hard-left Momentum activists' deselected current councillor

Coun Kieran Harpham
Coun Kieran Harpham
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The chair of a Labour party ward in Sheffield has dismissed claims their current councillor was de-selected by 'hard-left activists'.

The chair of a Labour party ward in Sheffield has dismissed claims their current councillor was de-selected by 'hard-left activists'.

Current Broomhill & Sharrow Vale Coun Kieran Harpham, the son of late MP and former miner Harry, lost out in a secret ballot to Dore resident Janet Ridler to stand as the candidate for next year's council election.

The Daily Mail was told reportedly told by a Labour insider the ward had been 'taken over' by 'hard-Left activists' from the pro-Jeremy Corbyn pressure group Momentum.

The paper reported Coun Harpham was deselected for being 'too-working class' and 'not left-wing enough'.

Mr Harpham, who will keep his seat until elections in May, was criticised by some sections of the party for signing a letter on a vote of no confidence against Mr Corbyn.

Lord Blunkett, former minister and Sheffield MP said: "I’m extremely distressed that his son Kieran should have experienced the backlash of the Momentum drive for deselections – not least as Jeremy Corbyn attended his dad’s funeral. I hope people will examine their consciences."

But the Labour Broomhill & Sharrow Vale branch chairman, Andrew Enever, hit back at the claims and said he was 'very proud' to chair such a 'honest, open, and thoughful selection meeting' and is 'excited' to be out campaigning with Ms Ridler next year.

The Star understands around 70 members voted in several rounds of secret ballot from a shortlist of six candidates.

Mr Enever said: "We do not recognise the construction put on our selection process by the Daily Mail, with the help of its anonymous sources. Many of us were very sad indeed for Kieran, as he is a well-known, well-liked and loyal member of the local Labour Party.

"Would-be councillors are selected on their suitability to campaign for and implement Labour Party policies, and to serve our diverse community, which in our ward, Broomhill and Sharrowvale, encompasses significant areas of poverty and deprivation, many owner occupiers, many private renters, many ethnic groups, hundreds of small businesses and thousands of students.

"We do not select or de-select candidates on the basis of social class or who their mothers or fathers were."

Coun Harpham told The Star: "Obviously I'm unhappy to be deselected but this is a democractic process and I'm not one for blaming certain people or certain groups.

"I've been shortlisted to stand for the Stannington and Fulwood wards so lets see what happens there."